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Just announced: The Serpent Power, 17th September.

The Serpent Power

17 September / 19:30 / More Info / Buy Tickets

The Serpent Power is a collaboration between Ian Skelly (The Coral) and Paul Molloy (The Zutons).

Having met at an after-show party in Liverpool, Skelly and Molloy discovered an instant songwriting chemistry and immediately booked a studio to begin work on their debut album. Deciding to keep the name of the former’s backing band from his Cut From A Star solo album tour, Serpent Power was born.

Opening offering ‘Lucifer’s Dream Box’ comes across like Arthur Lee jamming with 13th Floor Elevators in Midlake‘s summerhouse. At night.

Their record unravels like a darkly comic horror book; with twisted tales of alien brain abduction, phantom bogeymen, sirens, voodoo witchdoctors and waitresses come serial killers.

Just announced: Skip ‘Little Axe’ McDonald and King Size Slim Autumn Tour 2015

Skip ‘Little Axe’ McDonald and King Size Slim

27 October / 19:30 / Band on the Wall, Manchester
12 November / 19:00 / The Old Fire Station, Carlisle
14 November / 19:00 / The Ropery Hall, Barton-upon-Humber
15 November / 19:00 / The Grand, Clitheroe
21 November / 19:30 / The Albany, Deptford

Skip ‘Little Axe’ McDonald

Skip McDonald made his name as an integral part of the Sugar Hill house band playing on the most influential early rap classics and as part of Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound crew he has made some of the most adventurous and praised UK music of the last twenty years.

Little Axe is the return to the blues that Skip grew up with and learned from his father. McDonald, along with bassplayer Doug Wimbish and drummer Keith LeBlanc formed the house band for the pioneering rap label Sugar Hill, providing the music for some of the most seminal records of the era by Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaata, Force M.D.'s and others. From there he worked closely with Adrian Sherwood on many of projects for the On-U Sound label, as well as spearheading the band Tackhead and working with Living Colour.

Skip has been the prime mover behind Little Axe since around 1992. Under a name inspired by Bob Marley's Small Axe and gospel singer Willmer 'Little Ax' Broadnax, the debut album Wolf That House Built was a personal take on blues and dub, and was released to critical acclaim in 1994. The second Little Axe album, Slow Fuse, was also well received. Then it remained silent for far too long. In 2002 Skip's third Little Axe album Hard Grind became the first release for four years on Sherwood's revived and re-launched On-U Sound label with a mixture of raw blues and reggae. While Hard Grind no doubt will also draw comparisons to Moby's Play, it was Skip who pioneered the fusion of blues and electronic music with Little Axe.

‘dub-blues grooves that manage to be soothing yet unsettling’ The Independent

King Size Slim

The big warm tones from his resonator guitar along with a powerful and direct vocal delivery are the trademarks of singer/song-writer King Size Slim.

Add rolling grooves and percussive hooks and you have a songwriter who delivers original compositions that are steeped in a world of music that is fully conscious of its roots but at the same time has a new story to tell.

Constant touring has built Hastings based Toby Barelli (aka King Size Slim) a reputation as a powerful performer, immensely engaging, passionate and entertaining with a delivery that grips his audience. Toby was performing regularly with local bands at the age of 14, sitting in with anyone who would let him, style or genre didn’t matter, he just wanted to play. His tenacity paid off, and shortly after leaving school Toby got his first professional work. Later Toby was invited to join the Two Tone legends ‘The Selecter’. This led to four years of worldwide touring and recording with many Ska and Reggae heroes, some influences of which can still be heard in his music today.

Now performing over 150 shows a year either solo or with his 3-piece line up (featuring a potent combination of guitars, bass, percussion and backing vocals), and in the wake of his last studio album, King Size Slim has become a a ‘must see’ act on the alternative blues circuit as well as venues and festivals around the country.

“Taking lactose intolerance to new levels... I really like this record!” Huey Morgan, BBC Radio 2.

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Just announced: Banned from Utopia, 2nd November.

Banned from Utopia

02 November / 19:30 / More Info / Buy Tickets

Frank Zappa is one of the twentieth century’s most important composers. His works of more than eighty albums is by far the most voluminous and versatile of the entire generation rock (encompassing of course jazz as well as avant-garde, contemporary classical and orchestral music!) – even though his untimely death in 1993 left him with only half the time that was allowed to the Dylan-Jagger-Bowie or- Springsteens.

In 2015 Frank Zappa would have turned 75. High time to acknowledge his emormous legacy! And who would be as fit to do so as the incredible musicians he himself had recruited for his band?

For this special anniversary a whole bunch of the most popular Zappa collaborators are back to turn the complexity of his compositions from syllabus material at the music academies into blistering experiences in the world’s concert venues again. Including Ray White and Bobby Martin, two lead singers who were held in high esteem by the great master for many years. Or Tom Fowler, the man who opened Zappa’s door for three brothers before he went on to become Ray Charles’ last bass player for well over a decade…

As Banned From Utopia, referring to Frank Zappa's album "The Man From Utopia", they please the connoisseurs and convert the curious into dedicated fans. Having played on innumerable Mothers / Zappa albums, the musicians of this virtuoso fusion ensemble are performing classics from all eras. Suffused with the authenticity of their deep Zappa history.

They can do that on stage still. And there's no way of getting closer to the original!

Just announced: Birchall-Kiermyer Transcension with Davis Whitfield and Nimrod Speaks, 15th September.

Birchall-Kiermyer Transcension with Davis Whitfield and Nimrod Speaks

15 September / 19:30 / More Info / Buy Tickets

Transcension is a new group formed by fiery Canadian drummer Franklin Kiermyer and soulful UK saxophonist Nat Birchall, drawn together by  the similarities in their respective approaches, the two musicians have joined forces in this special collaboration. Both artists have been influenced by spiritual, devotional and folk music from all over the world, and especially the music of the John Coltrane quartet.

This new quartet also features two of the strongest young players from the New York and Philadelphia jazz scenes, pianist Davis Whitfield and bassist Nimrod Speaks. The group will be playing specially composed music for this project, written by the two co-leaders. Franklin Kiermyer first came to prominence following the release of Solomon's Daughter, his third album that features John Coltrane alumnus Pharoah Sanders on saxophone. Widely regarded for his intense passionate energy, spiritual feeling and distinctive sound, his nine albums and many performances have brought his music international recognition. His 2014 album FURTHER, features saxophonist Azar Lawrence. Nat Birchall’s many albums on the Gondwana record label and his own Sound Soul & Spirit label have contributed to his acclaim as one of the UK’s greatest musicians. Known for his heartfelt playing and prayer-like compositions, he has spent his life devoted to the transformative power of music. His latest album "Invocations" will be released by Jazzman Records in September 2015.


  • Franklin Kiermyer - Drums
  • Nat Birchall - Tenor, soprano saxophones, percussion
  • Davis Whitfield - Piano
  • Nimrod Speaks - Bass

In memory of Stuart James – legendary Manchester musician and producer

Stuart James, a well-known musician, producer, engineer and tour manager has sadly died.

Stuart had a long history on the Manchester music scene. He was a key figure in the early days of Factory Records, was tour manager with the Chemical Brothers for 20 years and worked with Hot Chip, Primal Scream and Johnny Marr among many others.

Read tributes to Stuart published in the Manchester Evening News.

A number of charities have been chosen to receive donations in Stuart's memory, one of them being The Band on the Wall Foundation. Set up in collaboration with our education partners, Brighter Sound, the Band on the Wall Foundation aims to give a musical voice to children and young people who suffer from economic deprivation, low educational achievement, gang violence, poverty and isolation.

Band on the Wall Foundation

Together, Band on the Wall and Brighter Sound work with young people who face these challenges and, through music, provide ways in which they can understand and overcome them.

Any family, friends or well-wishers who would like to support the Foundation's music education programmes in Stuart's memory can donate via the Charity Service here.


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